More testing needed to learn impact of soil radioactivity

March 13, 2014 by Diane Mar-Nicolle, Simon Fraser University

Further investigations of soil are needed to understand any possible impacts posed by small amounts of radioactivity, following the testing of a soil sample near Kilby Park in the Fraser Valley, according to the Simon Fraser University researcher who studied it.

SFU chemistry professor Krysztof Starosta studied the sample, provided to him by a colleague in the School of Resource and Environmental Management, and stresses that the presence of radiation by itself does not indicate danger to health. "It is the dose which determines the impact," says Starosta. "At no point, we think, is there any risk to general public."

The sample was found to contain a known as Cesium 134 (134C), which Starosta determined is from the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan three years ago.

Starosta has since followed up with other soil samples from Kilby and SFU, all collected in March, and did not find any evidence for the presence of 134Cs.

Currently his group is working on improving sensitivity of the detection of 134Cs to further investigate its presence in B.C. soil.

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